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The Lesson Cycle. AN OUTLINE OF DIRECT INSTRUCTION objectives standards anticipatory set teaching input modeling check for understanding guided practice/monitoring closure independent practice .

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the lesson cycle
The Lesson Cycle
  • objectives
  • standards
  • anticipatory set
  • teaching
    • input
    • modeling
    • check for understanding
  • guided practice/monitoring
  • closure
  • independent practice
Before the lesson is prepared, the teacher should have a clear idea of what the teaching objectives are. What, specifically, should the student be able to do, understand, care about as a result of the teaching. informal. Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives which is shown below, gives an idea of the terms used in an instructional objective. See Robert Mager [library catalog] on behavioral objectives if writing specificity is required.
The teacher needs to know what standards of performance are to be expected and when pupils will be held accountable for what is expected. The pupils should be informed about the standards of performance. Standards: an explanation of the type of lesson to be presented, procedures to be followed, and behavioral expectations related to it, what the students are expected to do, what knowledge or skills are to be demonstrated and in what manner.
Anticipatory set or Set Induction: sometimes called a "hook" to grab the student's attention: actions and statements by the teacher to relate the experiences of the students to the objectives of the lesson. To put students into a receptive frame of mind.
  • to focus student attention on the lesson.
to create an organizing framework for the ideas, principles, or information that is to follow (c.f., the teaching strategy called "advance organizers").

to extend the understanding and the application of abstract ideas through the use of example or analogy...used any time a different activity or new concept is to be introduced.

Input: The teacher provides the information needed for students to gain the knowledge or skill through lecture, film, tape, video, pictures, etc.
  • Modeling: Once the material has been presented, the teacher uses it to show students examples of what is expected as an end product of their work. The critical aspects are explained through labeling, categorizing, comparing, etc. Students are taken to the application level (problem-solving, comparison, summarizing, etc.)
Checking for Understanding: Determination of whether students have "got it" before proceeding. It is essential that students practice doing it right so the teacher must know that students understand before proceeding to practice. If there is any doubt that the class has not understood, the concept/skill should be retaught before practice begins.
Questioning strategies: asking questions that go beyond mere recall to probe for the higher levels of ensure memory network binding and transfer. Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives provides a structure for questioning that is hierarchical and cumulative. [See the end of this section for a summary of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.] It provides guidance to the teacher in structuring questions at the level of proximal development, i.e., a level at which the pupil is prepared to cope. Questions progress from the lowest to the highest of the six levels of the cognitive domain of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
Guided practice: An opportunity for each student to demonstrate grasp of new learning by working through an activity or exercise under the teacher's direct supervision. The teacher moves around the room to determine the level of mastery and to provide individual remediation as needed. [Fred Jones'“ praise, prompt, and leave" is suggested as a strategy to be used in guided practice.]
Closure: Those actions or statements by a teacher that are designed to bring a lesson presentation to an appropriate conclusion. Used to help students bring things together in their own minds, to make sense out of what has just been taught. "Any questions? No. OK, let's move on" is not closure. Closure is used:
  • to cue students to the fact that they have arrived at an important point in the lesson or the end of a lesson,
  • to help organize student learning,
  • to help form a coherent picture, to consolidate, eliminate confusion and frustration, etc.,
  • to reinforce the major points to be help establish the network of thought relationships that provide a number of possibilities for cues for retrieval. Closure is the act of reviewing and clarifying the key points of a lesson, tying them together into a coherent whole, and ensuring their utility in application by securing them in the student's conceptual network.
Independent practice: Once pupils have mastered the content or skill, it is time to provide for reinforcement practice. It is provided on a repeating schedule so that the learning is not forgotten. It may be home work or group or individual work in class. It can be utilized as an element in a subsequent project. It should provide for decontextualization: enough different contexts so that the skill/concept may be applied to any relevant situation...not only the context in which it was originally learned. The failure to do this is responsible for most student failure to be able to apply something learned.
Summary: You told them what you were going to tell them with set, you tell them with presentation, you demonstrate what you want them to do with modeling, you see if they understand what you've told them with checking for understanding, and you tell them what you've told them by tying it all together with closure.
The Madeline Hunter "seven step lesson plan." The basic lesson plan outline given above contains the so-called "Hunter direct instruction lesson plan elements:" 1) objectives, 2) standards, 3) anticipatory set, 4) teaching [input, modeling, and check for understanding], 5) guided practice, 6) closure, and 7) independent practice. If you count input, modeling, and check for understanding as three steps, there are nine elements...not the seven in the usual title.
How to instruct for mastery:
  • 1. Major objectives representing the purposes of the course or unit define mastery of the subject.
  • 2. The substance is divided into relatively small learning units, each with their own objectives and assessment.
  • 3. Learning materials and instructional strategies are identified; teaching, modeling, practice, formative evaluation, reteaching, and reinforcement, etc., and summative evaluation are included.
4. Each unit is preceded by brief diagnostic tests.
  • 5. The results of diagnostic tests are used to provide supplementary instruction to help student(s) overcome problems.
5 keys to success
5 Keys to Success
  • Mastery Learning.
  • Home environment.
  • Pre-requisite enhancement.
  • Make reading automatic, beyond decoding.
  • Emphasis on creativity, higher mental processes [upper levels of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, critical thinking, etc.
Phase one: framework for the lesson is established.
  • a. provide objective of lesson and level of performance required.
  • b. describe the content of the lesson and relationship to prior knowledge/experience.
  • c. discuss the procedures of the lesson--the different parts of the lesson and student's responsibility during each activity.
Phase two: explain the new concept(s) or skill(s), demonstration and examples--orally and visually. For a concept, include attributes (characteristics), the rule or definition, and several examples. For a skill, identify the steps of the skill with examples of each. It is important that pupils have a visual representation of the task (VRT) in the early stages of learning.
Phase three: Structured practice. Lead students through practice examples working in a lock-step fashion each step of the task as it appears in the VRT. [e.g., use an overhead projector doing practice examples on a transparency so that students can see the generation of each step. Then provide a visual instructional plan (VIP)--in which each step is detailed--to pupils to use when they get stuck in individual practice or independent practice.] Refer to the VRT while working practice examples as a group.
Phase four: Guided practice [in class "seat work." With the teacher circulating [e.g., "praise, prompt, and leave"]. Monitor students' work, providing corrective feedback as necessary, and assess performance of the group in determining whether the class is ready for the next instruction. Additional time for those whose aptitude calls for a longer learning period can be provided by giving "extra credit" assignments, supplementary activities, etc.
Phase five: Independent practice [additional class time or homework] begins when students have achieved an 85 to 90% accuracy level. To insure retention and develop fluency, students practice on their own without assistance and with delayed feedback [e.g., comments on graded papers]. Five or more brief practice activities distributed over a month or more may be required to "fix" the new concept/skill.